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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! I'm new to the forums so if this should be placed somewhere else please let me know.

Quick sob story feel free to skip:
Last week I had a brain hemorrhage and it's going to put me in a tough place financially for the foreseeable future. So that means I'll be selling my current dream car for my medical bills. In reality I got very lucky because I was 2 days away from spending 3k on a paint job before the incident.

Looking for a CRX:
I'm looking to get a stock as possible CRX daily driver. I never push my cars hard and ultimately want the CRX for reliability/functionality and because their a little more fun to drive then an average car. :)
I drive between 30-40 highway miles 4 days a week but that will start to go down.
I have a good amount time and access to some mechanically inclined people who are willing to help me in their spare time with bigger jobs because I've only ever done fluids, belts, filters, brake pads on my own cars up to this point.

CRX I'll be looking at:
Planning to look at a stock (except exhaust) CRX Si with 200k miles this week. Owner has had it for 4 years and has put 30k miles on it during that time. Already passed smog. Car has dents in one fender and some paint chipping/surface rust on the roof. I live in the desert so leaks aren't as big of concern compared to other areas. I'm also not concerned with the looks right now just any potential problems that may cause.

Questions:

Main things to look for when checking these cars out?

- I know rust is problem for these cars and need to be checked out thoroughly.

With 6 weeks and $1000 dollars what preventative maintenance would you do to get it running as good as possible?
  • I was thinking timing belt/waterpump, spark plugs, brakes, and a new valve cover gasket for sure.
  • With whatever money is left from that I'd put into getting ahead of potential problems, replacing things that are easily accessible around the work being done.

What are some spare parts that'd be nice to have?

How difficult is it to treat rust around trimmings?


I realize it's this could be a potentially bad investment and I may be probably be better off with something else but I've always wanted a CRX it seems like it serve all my needs. That said if it's too much chance for disaster please let me know and if you recommend a different cheap/fuel efficient/potential to be fun some day car I'd appreciate it.
 

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What are some spare parts that'd be nice to have?
ANYTHING you can find...
Prices for this stuff have gone up considerably and even more so with the popularity of these cars and the fact that most parts from Honda are simply discontinued and out of stock.
So if you do find NOS parts, they could be pricey.
Junk yard parts will be hard to come by simply because the car has gotten older and if they do end up at the yard, parts are stripped quickly!
 

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Unless you have a passion for these cars, it's not the ideal car for a commuter. Space and storage is limited, spare parts are rare, and theft is higher. That said, if a great deal comes along by all means I would buy it if in your shoes.

I think for your scenario, for less money, the civics of the 6th generation (1996 to 2000) are going to give you similar fuel economy, much less expensive to maintain, and better parts availability. They have an easier engine bay to work with as well. If you are set on getting an EF Honda (1988 to 1991 range), I would also consider the hatchback models which are less expensive.

If you pick it up we would love to see photos!
 

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Unless you have a passion for these cars, it's not the ideal car for a commuter. Space and storage is limited, spare parts are rare, and theft is higher. That said, if a great deal comes along by all means I would buy it if in your shoes.

I think for your scenario, for less money, the civics of the 6th generation (1996 to 2000) are going to give you similar fuel economy, much less expensive to maintain, and better parts availability. They have an easier engine bay to work with as well. If you are set on getting an EF Honda (1988 to 1991 range), I would also consider the hatchback models which are less expensive.

If you pick it up we would love to see photos!
I agree totally with Baker. Also these cars are not very safe in any kind of accident. They lack basic safety construction. I assume you're not a kid with the medical history, so a word to the wise, get a newer Honda! I have a 89' that I only take out for meets and occasionally when it's dry. My car is modified and in great shape, none the less, at 73 I don't take punishment as well as I did when I was younger.
 

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If you really want a CRX, I can’t tell you no haha.

the only thing I would worry about is good parts availability. There is aftermarket, but prepare to have low expectations on quality. Honda stopped making a lot of the parts a long time ago.

As a daily, I find it kinda uncomfortable compared to a newer car with creature comforts. My AC unit has an R12 compressor so any R134a I put seems to either blow the seals or not work well.

Um… it’s not horrible haha. I daily it often.

ALSO I just did my timing belt and water pump. If you have questions, let me know. I also replaced stuff like my trans fluid, axles, bushings, rack end bushing, ignition components, and removed my dash, etc.

my current suspension is stiffer than normal. I have 300 lb/in for all 4 corners and an aftermarket header. Other than that, it’s OE.
 

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I daily drive my 1989 CRX si every day and my commute is a 72-mile round trip. My other option is Dodge Ram 4x4 but at 15 1/2 mpg it is really hard on the wallet. With fuel prices currently well over $3.25 per gallon in my area I'm risking it all and driving the CRX that gets 42 mpg. I should tell you the risk is even higher as I have a nitrous bottle mounted behind me for easy access. But hey, I pass everything that needs passing safely and with ease when I spray and it will always be safer than a motorbike.
Speedometer Odometer Gauge Tachometer Motor vehicle
 

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As a daily, I find it kinda uncomfortable compared to a newer car with creature comforts. My AC unit has an R12 compressor so any R134a I put seems to either blow the seals or not work well.
HC-12a works great in place of R-12. I've been running Duracool for a decade now with no issues. Flush out the system, replace all the O-rings with HNBR, maybe rebuild the compressor if the seals are questionable. Drain and refill with mineral oil per the service manual if it's been contaminated with other stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Update:

First, thank you everyone! Been digging into all the info on here for a couple hours every night and have learned a LOT.

I'm going to check out an 88 dx with 250k miles on Saturday with a friend who knows his stuff. Car is not pretty but is bone stock. Along with all the regular stuff you'd look out for when buying a car I'm gonna look out for rust in all the places mentioned in CRX 101, but I live out in the desert so probably not a big issue. Will check for oil in the coolant as well.

Feeling good about getting a CRX, even if its not this one, especially since I found a reputable Honda shop 10 min from my house that has tons of oem parts.

Wish me luck!
 
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